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Transcoding entire lossless archive to m4a, What are the downsides?
post Oct 17 2009, 00:07
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Hey what's up everyone! First off, I'm not a total noob so hit me with your best shot, fire away! I would say I am well versed in EAC, Cue Tools, Burrn, Accurip, Easy CD-DA extractor, Traders little helper, Flac.. Basically I use all these programs daily. My "audio collection" is all lossless, every CD has a proper log and cue file (non compliant), Artwork, Checksum, NFO, and Metadata. I don't know why I haven't ever installed Foobar 2000 but I haven't yet. I use WInAmp to listen to my music. I have a Creative Fatality sound card connected by toslink to my Harmon Kardon receiver, 7.1 Surround sound.

Here's my problem. I have an ipod Touch 32gb I've had for a few years. I have a really nice set of Shure ear buds for it and lately I've been using it more and more. Up until now I've been transcoding mp3's and loading them into itunes. It's getting to be a pain keeping two collections of music. Lossless and Lossy. I recently discovered I can add the ffmpeg encoder to Cue Tools and transode to m4a, it shows up as the Lavf52.34.0 encoder. What I like is that Cue Tools makes a cue sheet for the m4a just like it would for Flac (even though it doesn't work with m4a). It copies over the log, makes an accurip log, and even embeds artwork for the m4a. What I don't like is so far I haven't been able to decode the m4a using Cue Tools. However, I can easily transcode the m4a back to Flac using Easy CD-DA extractor. Actually, Easy CD-Da extractor would be perfect if it modified single file cues for me but it only creates cues, it doesn't work with them like Cue Tools does.

This is going to be a gigantic undertaking for me. The prospect or transcoding all my lossless music from flac to m4a, using the ffmpeg encoder within Cue Tools. Knowing I can use Easy CD-DA extractor to decode the m4a and still have a proper (non compliant) cue sheet, and log for burning Audio CD's. I haven't figured out how to make an NFO for the m4a yet, but there's no need for playlists and I can easily make an MD5.

The benefit to doing this is I will be able to load my entire collection into itunes and be able to listen to the beautiful lossless m4a on my ipod touch. At the same time, now I found a way to transcode the m4a back to flac if needed, maintaining a proper log and cue sheet. All with minimal effort. Of course file size is a small issue. The m4a is bigger then Flac level 8.

Any ideas? Thanks!

PS.. I really don't understand "Apple Lossless" Is that just a generic term for Lossless M4a? There are so many different lossless m4a encoders, are they all considered ALAC? This ffmpeg comes up as Lavf52.34.0, but it's still MPEG-4. How does is differ from Apple lossless? I can't find any info anywhere.

This post has been edited by RendoR: Oct 17 2009, 00:34
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post Oct 17 2009, 06:26
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Can anyone tell me if there's a scientific reason not to use m4a to archive lossless audio? Using Cue Tools with the ffmpeg encoder. I read something about integrity checks? That's what I really need to know. I successfully took a single APE file, with embedded log/cue and ripped it into m4a tracks with a proper cue for individual tracks, gaps appended (I know it doesn't work for m4a, read on) Next I transcoded the m4a tracks to flac and edited the cue file accordingly. I then ran accurip and audio checker tests as well as TAU analysis and I see no noticeable loss in quality from the original WAV file. I even decompressed the flac and used EAC to burn an audio CD using the cue. I'm not that anal but I guess I could rip the wavs off this CD-R and see if it tricks accurip but that's not necessary.

I do appreciate your thoughts on gapless playback, honestly I never knew it was a problem for the ipod/itunes. I prefer the original CD sound when I burn CD's so having the original gaps is important to me. I use EAC to burn audio CD's.
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Posts in this topic
- RendoR   Transcoding entire lossless archive to m4a   Oct 17 2009, 00:07
- - Axon   Why do you need (or even want) cue sheets for m4a?...   Oct 17 2009, 00:34
- - kornchild2002   I too am a little confused as to why you would wan...   Oct 17 2009, 01:14
- - Light-Fire   There is a program called XLD that batch convert f...   Oct 17 2009, 01:35
- - RendoR   My point was I do burn traditional audio CD's ...   Oct 17 2009, 01:51
|- - Tahnru   QUOTE (RendoR @ Oct 16 2009, 19:51) You g...   Oct 17 2009, 06:57
- - Light-Fire   I had no problems burning audio CDs with iTunes fr...   Oct 17 2009, 01:59
- - RendoR   Can anyone tell me if there's a scientific rea...   Oct 17 2009, 06:26
|- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (RendoR @ Oct 16 2009, 23:26) Can a...   Oct 17 2009, 18:01
- - RendoR   Yes, my purpose is to have my lossless audio in a ...   Oct 18 2009, 04:10
- - kornchild2002   Ok, then you need to use Apple lossless and stop l...   Oct 18 2009, 05:14
- - RendoR   Finally! Thank-You kornchild! I'm glad...   Oct 18 2009, 07:10
- - spoon   Lossless is lossless, there should be zero errors ...   Oct 18 2009, 14:51
- - odyssey   While I admit that maintaining two "similar...   Oct 18 2009, 15:27
- - RendoR   Foobar is a nice little program and I love those c...   Oct 19 2009, 01:30
|- - odyssey   QUOTE (RendoR @ Oct 19 2009, 02:30) These...   Oct 19 2009, 01:44
- - RendoR   I'm not familiar with ABX. I'm not sure ex...   Oct 20 2009, 03:38
- - 2t0nEg   http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showt...   Oct 20 2009, 04:53
|- - odyssey   QUOTE (RendoR @ Oct 20 2009, 04:38) There...   Oct 20 2009, 09:19
- - 2Bdecided   I understand why he wants to use Cuesheets - he wa...   Oct 20 2009, 09:42
- - odyssey   Regarding HTOA-tracks, I number them as "00...   Oct 20 2009, 12:38
- - 2Bdecided   I don't think it has a "use" on a po...   Oct 20 2009, 13:02
- - RendoR   QUOTE (David)I understand why he wants to use Cues...   Oct 21 2009, 06:01
|- - Dynamic   QUOTE (RendoR @ Oct 21 2009, 06:01) Does ...   Oct 21 2009, 20:19
- - RendoR   I seem to be having issues with ALAC encoded with ...   Nov 10 2009, 23:36
|- - FulciLives   QUOTE (RendoR @ Nov 10 2009, 17:36) I see...   Dec 2 2009, 05:05
|- - jcoalson   QUOTE (FulciLives @ Dec 1 2009, 23:05) I ...   Dec 2 2009, 20:16
- - spoon   >why DB Poweramps ALAC encoder has so many prob...   Dec 2 2009, 10:00
- - MrSinatra   ok, I have some really stupid questions here: fir...   Apr 23 2013, 12:02
|- - probedb   QUOTE (MrSinatra @ Apr 23 2013, 12:02) ok...   Apr 23 2013, 14:00
- - lvqcl   Usually lossless formats don't need extra meta...   Apr 23 2013, 12:17
|- - db1989   As lvqcl implied, a lossless format must be gaples...   Apr 23 2013, 17:13
- - DonP   I don't know if any are compatible with ipod, ...   Apr 23 2013, 16:43
- - MrSinatra   thx for the replies. yeah, it looks like flac is ...   Apr 23 2013, 18:24
- - skamp   I'm unaware of a "pgap" field. What ...   Apr 23 2013, 18:35
- - MrSinatra   yes, all lossless SHOULD be gapless. but ALAC is ...   Apr 29 2013, 12:47
- - db1989   So? Said container can store various things. My pr...   Apr 29 2013, 12:50
- - greynol   Is it really necessary to necro-bump this discussi...   Apr 29 2013, 12:59

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